Well, the book has been written. And revised a time or two. And changed extensively at least once. And through the process (which is far from done) I have learned a number of things. When you write a book, you always learn something. There is always something to research, and facts you never considered tend to appear. And each year, each book always helps me know myself more, through the process of creating the work. But probably the area that I learn from the most is the moral one; from the theme of the book, its point, and what ideas it is propounding to the readers. Sometimes I have it laid out and plotted as much as the actual plot. There have been some books where the moral comes before the plot, and everything else gyrates around the central idea. Dreaded King was a little different. Last summer I was sitting reading 2 Samuel 22 and the general atmosphere of a new book (the way the city of Halfful looked, how the people reacted to each other, even the writing style) popped into my head from nowhere, and everything else began to fall into place after that. And then came November, and I just start writing and see where it took me. But themes and ideas and morals always begin to shape my work, because they shape the real world around us and govern every Christian’s actions. And as those themes come up in my book, they start rotating in my mind, and then suddenly I begin to notice them crop up in everyday living; in the passage read during quiet time, a phrase from a radio pastor, an article picked up, maybe even a Facebook post. Corroboration of something you just typed up, or a new thought that corresponds with it, seems to be sprinkled everywhere. It is a surprising and exciting element of writing a story. And I think I will let you in on a few of the things I discovered during this novel writing experience, starting with the main one;
A person can change into a better person, without really changing who they were to begin with. Their fun personality can stay the same while their qualities improve. It seems intuitive reading the sentence now, but this was one of the main things that struck me when writing Dreaded King. Charlie changes. But I had planned on making him change much more, turning him from one person into someone nearly entirely different by the end of the books. But instead he insisted on staying the same quirky character, and just strengthening the strong points he already had, as it were. At the end of the work, I see the same man standing on the page. As one of the characters ended up pointing out in the second book; “Lad, you do not cease to be the man God first made when you let the Spirit do its shaping. You become more of the man God first made, as you are scoured clean of the years of living in an evil world.” I had never seen that simple and beautiful fact of sanctification’s work before writing this book.
And I learned;
The meaning of ‘tilth,’ how to save the seeds from a tomato, and what a cumbtlot is.
The undoubted usefulness of earphones. I suppose this was really only reiterated, not necessarily learned.
What a merthyl is. Though I would like to see a picture of one someday.
How difficult it is to write from four different perspectives, and try to make each distinct. This was another aspect that I hadn’t even considered until actually faced with the task. Tweaking my writing style to make each voice sound like its own person is much harder than I thought it would be! I enjoyed the challenge, though I don’t think I have gotten it quite right yet.
History can inspire hope and excitement for the future. Looking at the past, you can see all the people that have survived through countless difficulties, and the nations that have faltered and recovered despite ridiculous odds, and all the mistakes that have been made and then corrected… and suddenly the future doesn’t look quite as hopeless anymore. If people can make all those mistakes and evils, and God can still bring good out of it, well then we have every reason and hope to rise to the challenge and strive to make our country a better one in the future.
I work pretty well under a time crunch, and a lot can be done in four days.
An unwanted duty (even a hated one) can begin to change into a wanted one, if you keep pursuing it with an open heart and a determined mind. This is another main point that I hadn’t planned, but that forced itself on me from Charlie’s life. A determination to do your duty, because it is what God has you here for, can change your heart towards that duty.
How very helpful The Water Horse, Frozen, and How to Train Your Dragon soundtracks are when it comes to writing quirky fantasy.
Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood is most entertaining. Though he did not necessarily show good archery skills when playing the role, he showed unquestionably good entertaining skills. Although strictly speaking I didn’t actually learn this, as I’ve always liked the movie, I only recalled it.
Freedom is sustained from the rule of law, and only when God’s law is upheld can a country ever have freedom.
That I love to design characters in stories. This is my strong point in writing, or at least my favorite part.
Corgi-like dogs are very fun to write about.
A monarchy is not the answer to a proper government, and neither is a democracy. Both can be equally dangerous, for much the same overlooked reason; the fall permeates every man with sin. Evil men exist as much in the mob as in a monarch. Which is why we in America have a republic.
How adorable a squacker is.
I miss footnotes if I try to write a story without them; so much so that I was very happy when I found a way to add them in after all.
If you refuse to use the means God has placed in your hands, have you any right to pray for a miracle?
Wearing a cloak while you write can actually help you gain the right mindset and atmosphere in your work.
Things you never expected often pop up when you start writing. Like the Ŀiąteĥuwǽŧ Mountains and their silent lightning always striking around Hartsom. Or the sopper, with its five horns and habit of squeezing out foul smelling slime.
A corgi sleeping on your feet is a great, cozy inciter to get more writing done.
That once I finish one set of stories, the next set about the same characters are already plotting themselves in my brain… Yes, I am already plotting my next books, and I have not even finished editing these first two. Conclusion? I have an imagination that never takes a break, and a story will always be flying from my fingers onto a laptop, and on into your hands.